Jaciuk brings consistency to Gophers

Senior Steve Jaciuk has been a captain since he was a sophomore.

by Brad Bobel

Consistency is the word teammates and coaches use to describe senior captain Steve Jaciuk.

“His consistency speaks volumes, and he has always been that way,” said junior Paul Montague, a fellow captain. “He’s the right mix of both. He’s vocal when he needs to be … and gets everyone pumped up.”

Jaciuk is in his third year as captain, but this year’s team looks much more different than past years’ because of a large group of upperclassmen running out of eligibility.

Now it’s up to Jaciuk and the rest of the upperclassmen to help ease the freshmen into college gymnastics.

“Being named captain … was an honor, but it was a struggle with all the upperclassmen,” Jaciuk said. “Now, I’m taking my strengths and weaknesses from last year and implementing them into this team.”

Jaciuk called himself an “emotional rock,” which can be critical to a team’s success — especially when it’s young.

“The younger guys can always come to me, and I’ll put them on the right path,” Jaciuk said. “I bring emotional stability, and I encourage the guys to keep working.”

He’s also not afraid to step into the role of coach when he sees things going poorly. After Minnesota struggled in the first two events in last week’s meet against Illinois, Burns wanted to regroup his team.

“I was going to get the guys together and say a few words, but Steve asked if he could say something,” Burns said. “He said what I was going to say and lit a fire under the guy’s butts. Then the guys went out and hit 100 percent on the next routine.”

Jaciuk said his first two seasons as captain were filled with ups and downs, but they’ve prepared him to be a better leader this year.

“You can’t be afraid to lead others because when they see you lead, then they will follow,” Jaciuk said.

Before he became the Gophers’ leader, Jaciuk learned from others.

“I wouldn’t know where I’m going without my role models, especially my parents,” Jaciuk said. “You need to surround yourself with people who are always going to be there for you.”